SAN DIEGO, CA – San Diego Storm Off-Season: Seeking Redemption After Disappointing Season
After a disappointing 34-46 season that saw the San Diego Storm miss the playoffs, the team had high hopes for the off-season to make significant improvements and come back stronger. However, their hopes were quickly dashed as they fumbled the ball on their 9th overall draft pick, James Hord.
Hord, who showed potential for growth during his college career, arrived in San Diego out of shape and seemed intimidated by the intensity of the OBWL. Head Coach Dakota Aaron quickly noticed his lack of energy during practices, with Hord not putting in the necessary effort in his jumps and getting bullied around at his small forward position. In an attempt to salvage his potential, Hord was tried out at the guard position, where he displayed occasional passing skills and average defense, but unfortunately, his performance was downhill from there.
In the 2nd round of the draft, the Storm selected Charles Su, who showed more potential than Hord on the court. However, Su’s lack of a shooting touch was a concern, although he did exhibit a tendency to hit free throws at a high rate. Rumors around the Storm office indicated that Su might be waived before the start of the season, raising questions about the team’s decision-making.
Despite the setbacks, the Storm will heavily rely on their “big three” players who led them to their disappointing 34-win season. Jamel Tomlin, Raphael Stokes, and Tracey Straight will be expected to step up their game and carry the team.
Jamel Tomlin, coming off a dominant season in 2032, produced impressive numbers with 18.6 points per game (PPG), 5.6 rebounds per game (RPG), and 4.7 assists per game (APG). However, Tomlin’s performance dipped last season, averaging only 15.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 4.7 APG. His shooting percentages also suffered, dropping from 46% to 43% from the field and hitting only 37%, instead of his previous 41%, of his 3-point attempts.
Raphael Stokes, who had his best season ever with the Storm, saw career-high averages in every category except shooting percentages. Standing at 6’6″, Stokes played most of his career at the small forward position. However, Coach Aaron recognized his game resembled that of a power forward and transitioned him to that position. Stokes thrived as a power forward, averaging 18.8 PPG, 8.8 RPG, and 2.9 APG. However, he struggled with his shooting, making only 45% of his shots due to the physicality of playing against bigger power forwards.
Tracey Straight, known for his defensive prowess, will continue to be the glue that holds the team’s defense together. However, his main challenge remains staying on the court, as he averaged 3.8 fouls per game. Offensively, Straight contributed 11.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and an impressive 2.9 blocks per game (BPG) on 51% shooting from the field.
To complement the big three, the Storm have David Fausel as shooting guard (SG), who had a solid season in his first full year with the team. Despite playing only two games in the season prior, Fausel averaged 15.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 3.0 APG while shooting an efficient 45% from the field and an impressive 44% from beyond the arc.
Hector Young will be taking on the starting point guard (PG) role, bringing his court vision and playmaking abilities to the team. Although Young has never had the opportunity to be a full-season starter, his skills make him a valuable addition to the starting lineup.
Off the bench, the Storm added Logan Malek, one of the best three-point shooters in the game, who will be in line for significant minutes as the sixth man. They also acquired Thomas Branscum, a D-League playoff MVP, to provide additional playmaking abilities. Additionally, the team still has former All-Star Roman Roberson to help with guard duties, while Vicente Bushey (an All-Defensive Player), and Jared Dadar at the small forward position. The defensive backline is reinforced with elite rim protectors in Reid Smith, Timo Martinez, and Shayne Ramos.
With a mix of experienced players and promising additions, the San Diego Storm is determined to make it back into the playoffs this season. The big three, along with the supporting cast, will need to step up their game and find better team chemistry to overcome the disappointments of the previous season. With Coach Aaron’s guidance and a renewed sense of purpose, the Storm hope to redeem themselves and make a playoff push.
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